Chilean Celery Avocado Salad (ensalada de apio con palta) is a simple and delicious way to enjoy fresh celery. It is straightforward to make and can be on the table in no time, a beautiful accompaniment to rich meals or seafood as it is light and fresh tasting.
This Chilean Celery Salad recipe comes from a wonderful friend of mine who lived in Chile for a few years. It is wonderfully refreshing with a nice crunch. The olives add a nice tang, while the cilantro adds beautiful citrus notes.
For a more substantial salad with celery, why not try our White Bean & Celery Salad or for a twist on a classic, try our Vegan Waldorf Salad?
The Origins of this Salad
This Celery Avocado Salad is called Ensalada de Apio con Palta in Chile and is a very simple classic Chilean side dish. Traditionally it consists of avocado, celery and olives dressed with a lemon oil dressing. Other versions may include a pinch of cumin, paprika, or cayenne pepper, cilantro/coriander or some chopped onions.
Our version includes the traditional celery, avocado and olives with lots of fresh coriander/cilantro and smoked paprika for some smokiness.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Celery - we have used both the dark green outer stalks and the wonderfully tender yellow stalks for a contrast in colour and texture.
- Avocados - we have used Shephard avocadoes in this salad which are wonderfully creamy with a brighter yellow flesh than other varieties. If you can find them, they make an ideal partner to the celery's bright green and yellow colours. But this salad is also great with any avocado variety that you can find.
- Coriander/Cilantro - if cilantro tastes soapy and blah to you, then you are not alone, with new studies showing that there may be a genetic link. Not a problem with this salad; you can replace it with cooling parsley or fragrant dill.
- Olives - try kalamata olives, French black olives, and Niçoise olives. If you are in the US, you could also look for California black olives. Avoid anything in tins or jars, as they are tasteless.
- Dressing - we have kept it super simple to allow the ingredients to shine and just used a simple lemon olive oil vinaigrette, then dusted the salad with some smoked paprika to add some colour and smokiness.
How to Make This Salad
Step 1 - Cut Celery.
Wash the dark green celery stalks, remove the strings and white ends, and cut on the diagonal.
Wash the yellow stalks and cut off the ends - there is no need to remove any threads. Remove the leaves, keep them whole, and cut them into 1-inch batons (2.5 cm). Slice the yellow stalks diagonally.
Step 2 - Prepare the Remaining Ingredients.
Peel and remove the pit from the avocado, then dice; you will find detailed instructions on how to do this in our avocado prep post.
Wash the coriander (cilantro), shake and pat dry; cut off the ends, then roughly chop.
Step 3 - Assemble the Celery Avocado Salad.
Place the chopped celery, olives and avocado in a large mixing bowl and add the chopped coriander, lemon juice and oil.
Season your salad with salt and pepper, then mix until well combined; taste and adjust the seasonings according to your taste
Arrange in a salad bowl, and scatter extra olives on top to garnish. Keep chilled until you are ready to serve. Sprinkle a pinch of smoked paprika on top before serving for a pop of colour and some delightful smokiness.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Great for Chilean-style mains such as Chilean empanadas or Cazuela (stew). If you prefer classic flavours, then this salad is perfect with roasts or barbecues, especially good with pork. The lemony flavour in this salad makes it sensational to serve with a whole baked or BBQ'd fish.
While this avocado celery salad is pretty straightforward to make, you can save some time on the day.
- You can cut the celery a few days in advance and keep it in the fridge covered in water in a sealed container. Make sure that you dry the celery thoroughly and pat dry before assembling the salad.
- Make the dressing the day before and keep it covered in the fridge. Take it out in advance, so it comes to room temperature, as olive oils harden when cold.
- You can make it an hour before serving and keep it in the fridge. Ensure you have liberally doused the avocado in lemon juice to prevent it from browning.
People Also Ask
What Olives Should I Use?
I usually make this celery avocado salad with Kalamata olives as I love their almond shape and deep purple colour. This time, I made this salad with the olives from our olive tree that we had brined ourselves, as they had the same tangy, vinegary taste that comes from pickling them in red wine vinegar.
The critical thing to remember when choosing the olives for this salad is to make sure that they are good quality olives from the deli or kept in oil and vinegar. Avoid the tinned or jarred varieties as they are bland with no discernible taste.
How do you keep avocado fresh in a salad?
You can squeeze some lemon juice over the exposed avocado flesh to prevent it from discolouring. Or placing the avocado slices in a bowl filled with cold water will also stop them from going brown. But keep them submerged for no more than 4 hours.
Do you remove the strings on celery before eating it?
Celery strings are safe to eat but can be quite unpalatable as sometimes they are tough and chewy; when they are, it is best to remove them.
How do I store avocado celery salad?
This salad will keep covered in an air-tight container in the fridge for one or two days. However, the avocado may discolour slightly if not covered sufficiently with lemon juice.
The leftover celery avocado salad can be added to some cooked bulgur wheat, farro or couscous to bulk it up for a green take on tabbouleh.
Or used in a wrap or on bruschetta with some crumbled feta or as a topping for grilled chicken or salmon fillets.
This celery avocado salad is suitable for all diets - vegan, paleo, whole30, keto/low-carb, gluten and dairy free.
This a healthy salad that is ideal for keto and low-carb diets as it only has a net carb count of only three grams.
Celery is an excellent source of vitamins K and A, as well as folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Avocado is a great source of healthy fats, fibre, and vitamins B6 and E. Olives are a good source of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, iron, and copper. And the lemon olive oil dressing provides a nice dose of antioxidants.
- 180 grams celery, outer dark green (2 stalks to make 2 cups sliced,approximately 6.35 ounces)
- 160 grams celery, inner yellow with leaves (4 stalks to make up 1 cup leaves, 1 cup stalks, approximately 5.64 ounces)
- 500 grams avocados (2 large, approximately 17.64 ounces)
- 50 grams coriander (cilantro) (1 small bunch approximately 1.76 ounces)
- ½ cup olives
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- Pinch Smoked Paprika to garnish
- Sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Wash the dark green celery stalks, remove the strings, white ends and then cut diagonally.
- Wash the yellow stalks and cut off the ends. Remove the leaves but keep them whole. Chop the yellow stalks into 1 inch (2.5cm) batons and slice the stalks diagonally.
- Peel and remove the pit from the avocado, then dice.
- Add all ingredients to a mixing bowl, season then toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Arrange in a salad bowl, scatter extra olive on top, sprinkle with the paprika for a pop of colour, and keep chilled until ready to serve
Looks like such a yummy and refreshing salad! Definitely one we will be trying out during these hot months
Thank you Christine, it is a family favourite.
This looks amazing! My fiancé and I have been trying to find some more exciting salad recipes lately. I can’t wait to try this out later this week!
Thank you Becca - it is easy but just so tasty!
Looks easy and delicious. Thanks for this recipe! Definitely making it soon!
So glad you like it Carrie - let me know how you go.